Channel train held up in tunnel

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The Independent Online
FOUR truck drivers were stuck in the Channel tunnel for two hours after their train developed a fault, writes Christian Wolmar.

The incident happened on 27 May but details only emerged yesterday. The train, travelling from France, stopped near the British exit after a warning light came on. The driver was unable to proceed until the fault, a false alarm, was sorted out.

The drivers were offered the chance to walk on to Folkestone through the service tunnel but chose to remain with their lorries. A spokeswoman for Eurotunnel said: 'This was a teething problem and is why we are not yet operating a full service. There was no problem over safety and the drivers chose to stay in the tunnel rather than walk out.' She said other Le Shuttle trains were able to continue through the tunnel using the crossover points designed for such problems. .

The service for freight opened on 19 May and provides one train for invited hauliers. It can carry 14 trucks an hour, 16 hours a day.

The tunnel's opening was delayed for several months when similar problems led to the failure of many commissioning tests. The first train sent through under automatic signalling in January took five hours as an alarm went off on average every 24 seconds.